Monday, 17 October 2011

Case against Megrahi ‘flimsy’

[This is the headline over an article published today on the Holyrood website.  It reads as follows:]

If the only man ever convicted of the Lockerbie bombing had been tried in a Scottish court he may not have been found guilty, according to former Middle East envoy Terry Waite. [RB: Megrahi was, of course, convicted in a Scottish court, albeit one that sat in the Netherlands. Presumably Mr Waite means a Scottish court sitting in Scotland with a jury; in which case he is correct.  Such a court would almost certainly not have convicted Megrahi.]
Waite, who spent five years in captivity in Beirut at the hands of Islamic Jihad, said the uproar triggered by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi’s release on compassionate grounds has overshadowed the need for an investigation into whether or not he is guilty.

The former envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury said the merits of the conviction are questionable.

He said: “The Megrahi case is extraordinarily complex and I don’t for one moment blame members of the public for being confused about it because even those who have tried to study the issue have been confused.

“The answer most people come up with in the end is we don’t really think we have the whole truth here, the true facts of this matter have not been revealed yet I think that is the general view.

“My own view is when I have tried to study the case, it seems the evidence on which he was convicted was very thin indeed and flimsy.

“It is doubtful whether in a Scottish court that man would have been convicted of that crime based on the evidence that was at Camp Zeist.” 

Megrahi was released from Greenock prison two years ago on compassionate grounds because he has terminal prostate cancer.

He is the only person to be convicted of the Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people.

Waite added: “The decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds was not an easy decision to make because it was mired in political controversy.

 “He [Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill] took a very courageous decision. But, I think more importantly, we still have to hear the full facts in this matter and one would hope that things will come out and we shall know more about this very distressing case.” 

The SNP last week accused former Prime Minister Tony Blair of being “economical with the truth” after claiming Megrahi had been excluded from the prisoner transfer agreement signed by his government and the previous Gaddafi regime when he left office in 2007.

[Terry Waite's remarks were made in connection with his 2011 SACRO Lecure delivered in Edinburgh on 4 October 2011.

This item has been picked up in a news report in Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm, which also quotes from a letter sent to the Crown Office by Dr Jim Swire seeking clarification about the Megrahi Reuters interview and whether access to it had truly been sought and, as some reports say, denied.]

No comments:

Post a Comment